WRAP stands for Wellness Recovery Action Plan. WRAP is a self-management and recovery system developed by a group of people who had mental health difficulties and who were struggling to incorporate wellness tools and strategies into their lives.” (Copeland, 2005)
A Wellness Recovery Action Plan or WRAP is a personal mental health recovery plan designed to:
- Decrease and prevent intrusive or troubling feelings and behaviours;
- Increase personal empowerment;
- Improve quality of life; and
- Assist people in achieving their own life goals and dreams.
It is a structured system to monitor uncomfortable and distressing symptoms, so that you can reduce, modify or eliminate those symptoms by using planned responses. This includes plans for how you want others to respond when symptoms have made it impossible for you to continue to make decisions, take care of yourself or keep yourself safe.
The person who experiences symptoms is the one who develops their personal WRAP, although they may choose to have supporters and health care professionals help them with this process.
The WRAP system was developed by people who have been dealing with a variety of psychiatric symptoms for many years, and who are working hard to feel better and get on with their lives.
Putting Your WRAP together
The first part of your WRAP is about developing a personal Wellness Toolbox. This might include things like contacting friends and supporters; peer counsellors; focussing exercises; relaxation and stress reduction exercises; journalling; creative, fun and affirming activities; exercise; diet; and getting a good night’s sleep.
Section 1 of your WRAP is the Daily Maintenance Plan. It has three parts:
- A description of yourself when you are well;
- Those Wellness Tools that you know you must use every day to maintain your wellness; and
- A list of things you might need on any day.
The second part of your WRAP identifies those events or triggers that might make you feel worse, if they should happen (eg having a fight with a friend or getting a big bill). You then use your Wellness Tools to develop an Action Plan to help you get through the difficult time.
Section 3 of your personal WRAP identifies your Early Warning Signs, those subtle signs that let you know that you are beginning to feel worse (eg not being able to sleep, or feelings of nervousness).
Again, you use your Wellness Tools to develop an Action Plan for responding to these signs so you feel better quickly and prevent a possible difficult time.
This component of your WRAP is used to list those signs that let you know that you are feeling much worse (eg you are feeling very sad all the time, or you have started hearing voices). Use your Wellness Tools to develop a powerful action plan that will help you feel better as quickly as possible and prevent an even more difficult time.
This section involves creating a Crisis Plan or Advance Directive, where you identify those signs that let others know they need to take over the responsibility for your care and decision-making. You decide who these people are; who you want to support you through this time; your preferred health care treatment; a plan for staying at home during this time; as well as things others can do that would help, and things they might do that would not be helpful. This section keeps you in control even when things seem out of control.
The final part of your WRAP is a post-crisis plan. You might want to write some of this section in advance of a crisis, or you may want to write most of it as you are recovering from the crisis, when you have a clearer picture of what you need to do for yourself to get well.
Once you have developed your own personal Wellness Recovery Action Plan, you will spend 15 or 20 minutes a day to review the document. As you become more familiar with your symptoms and your plan, it will take less time to review your WRAP.
You can get started on developing your own WRAP mental health recovery program, here.
Author: Merryl Gee, BSocWk, AMHSW, MAASW, MACSW, MANZMHA, MPACFA.
Merryl Gee is a psychotherapist working from a strengths-based, person-centred framework. With over 30 years’ experience, she has a particular interest people who have experienced trauma such as sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse.
To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychotherapist Merryl Gee try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3067 9129.